HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CURRICULUM VITAE (CV)?
By Idu Mwawa
I would like to share with you SOME of the most critical improvements that you can make to your Curriculum Vitae (Cv). Implement these today if you want to get employers to take notice of your Cv and invite you to those all important job interviews.
Remember you have just one chance to impress an employer with your Cv before they move on to the next, so make sure your Cv is the best to ensure you win the maximum number of interviews.
1. Your Cv Must Sell You to an Employer in Just 60 Seconds:
First impressions really do count, if your Cv doesn’t grab an employer’s attention in the first 30 to 60 seconds of them starting to read your Cv, then your chances of obtaining an interview are significantly reduced.
An employer may have 200, 300 or more CVs to look through for each job vacancy and only an hour in which to make their selection of who they are going to interview.
They have to therefore make a split decision about whether to interview or reject a candidate almost instantly.
Have a look at your own CV from an employer’s perspective. What do you read and take in within the first 60 seconds? Be honest, would you give yourself an interview or just move on to the next Cv?
Now think about what you need to change:
- Do you need to change the order of the information?
- Should you change the actual content itself to get across better exactly what you have to offer?
- Is the language you’ve used throughout your Cv engaging enough to hook an employer?
Your whole Cv needs to be written in a positive and persuasive manner and make employers want to invite you for an interview.
2. Improve the Structure and Visual Layout of Your CV:
The structure and visual layout of your CV are very important. Even though the wording you use may be correct, if people can’t find the information they want quickly enough, then they will move on to the next CV.
It is usually best to use a conventional layout, breaking your CV down into a number of separate sections. Typically, you might have section headings.
Using section headings makes it much easier for the reader to find the information they want quickly.
Don’t use fancy borders or graphics, as they can detract from your actual CV’s content. They can also dramatically increase file size, causing problems when emailing or printing your CV. Job sites normally limit file size when you’re uploading your Cv, so it could be truncated or become incomprehensible.
Multi-column CVs can look visually attractive, but they make it far more difficult for the reader to quickly access the information on your CV.
Applicant tracking systems used by both employers and recruiters also have difficulty distinguishing between columns and different blocks of text, so your CV may become unreadable.
I have seen some people put bar charts listing their skills and awarding themselves 5 stars. No employer or recruiter will take any notice of you awarding yourself 5 stars, so leave these off your CV.
3. Keep Your CV as Short as Possible:
It is usually best to try to keep your Cv to 3 or 4 pages, unless you are specifically asked for a longer version. Employers don’t want to know your whole life history, just enough to decide whether they should interview you or not.
Remember, employers usually only spend 30 to 60 seconds reading each Cv during their first pass through a pile of CVs, so they simply don’t have time to read all of a 8 or 10 page CV.
If your Cv is longer than 4 or 5 pages, then try to cut it down. Start by removing superfluous or irrelevant content. Look at every line of your Cv and ask yourself whether this is relevant to what you want to do next, if it isn’t then delete it.
Once you’ve removed the unnecessary content, you can then condense down the remaining information to fit on 4 or 5pages.
4. Sell, Sell, Sell, Sell, Sell !!!!!!
Your Cv must be your sales brochure to employers and recruiters, convincing them to interview you.
Remember you could be facing intense competition, and have to beat 200 or 500 applicants. All employers want to know from ur Cv is. Can you do the job, and will you do it better than the other applicants?
You must therefore highlight the benefits of employing you, using words and phrases throughout your Cv that sell your key skills and experience to an employer and entice them to want to meet you.
Always be confident and positive. Don’t be scared to tell employers and recruiters about how good you really are. But be careful that you don’t oversell yourself. If you feel slightly embarrassed about how good you sound on your Cv, then it’s probably about right, as most people severely undersell themselves.
I’m Idu Mwawa, wishing you good luck and God Bless You All.